VIDEO: Fire erupts on Grimaldi ferry off Italy, hundreds evacuated

A fire broke out onboard an Italian-flagged roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) passenger ship off the Greek island Ereikoussa in the early morning hours of 18 February 2022.

ferry
Photo: Italian Coast Guard

At the time of the incident, the 183-meter-long Euroferry Olympia, operated by Italian shipping company Grimaldi Lines, was en route from Igoumenitsa (Greece) to Brindisi (Italy).

The ferry had 239 passengers and 51 crew members onboard when it departed from the Port of Igoumenitsa, Hellenic Coastguard said. In addition, it carries 153 commercial vehicles and 32 passenger vessels.

Following the ship’s distress signal at around 4:30 A.M., Italian and Greek authorities immediately dispatched tugboats, patrol ships and helicopters to the scene. Local fishing boats also assisted in the rescue efforts.

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While the majority of passengers and crew members have been rescued, twelve people have been reported missing, the Hellenic Coastguard added.

The 1995-built ferry is currently adrift in Albanian waters.

“No fuel spill has been detected at sea, nor does the stability of the ship appear to be compromised,” Grimaldi said in a statement.

The Italian Coast Guard naval and air units are participating in the operation to prevent potential marine pollution in the area of the incident.

An ATR42 airplane of the Coast Guard in environmental order is flying over the area in these hours to guarantee every possible form of support to the foreign counterparts,” the Italian Coast Guard informed.

“The Italian Coast Guard asked the EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) for support for the acquisition of satellite images to investigate any environmental aspects.”

An investigation into the incident has been launched.

Grimaldi vessels involved in a number of fire incidents

The ferry Euroferry Olympia is another in a number of Grimaldi ships that suffered fire-related incidents over the past few years.

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Probably the most catastrophic one involved the Grande America which sank in March 2019 after suffering a fire and developing a starboard list.

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